I concur with most everyone here. Though school can help spark creativity, that really is not the purpose of school. The purpose of school is to teach a student the basics. Learning to follow (and memorizing) recipes is one of the very base functions of a chef. All chefs use recipes very day of their exisitence. Sure they may not need to pull a recipe out and look at it, but that is only because they have it memorized. Without this solid base of core recipes it is very difficult to become successfully creative. Everyone can be creative, that's easy. "Gee I bet I could combine anchovies, ketchup and peanut butter." That is creative. Is it good? I doubt it! Again (like in the above post), look at cooking in terms of music. Anyone can sit down to a piano and bang on it creatively, but without training (unless they are very lucky) all they are going to make is noise, not music. It is the one thing that I tend to see too often in recent culinary school grads. They get out of school with this knowledge, and they want to chuck it all in the name of creativity, and what they end up creating is a bunch of "noise". They say that 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing'. I agree. It takes years to develop a palate, and a style all your own. All the while you are learning, and amassing more and more knowledge. Remember you must first learn to walk before you can run
One another note, though creativity is a wonderful thing, never dismiss the classics. The reason things have become classics, is that it has been proven to work, time and time again. Truffles and foie gras, fennel and fish, tomato and basil, peanut butter and jelly :D . As a new, young chef, remember you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Use the knowledge accumulated over hundreds of years by your predeccessors. Don't allow yourself to fall prey to the allure of creativity. Yes, it is a wonderful thing, but without knowledge first, all you are going to make is noise.